NEON. La materia luminosa dell'arte

Curated by David Rosenberg & Bartolomeo Pietromarchi

21 June - 04 November 2012
MACRO. Museo d'Arte Contemporanea Roma

Multispatial cube. Expansion+translation, 1989. VAF Stiftung/MART, Trento e Rovereto

invitation card

catalogue's cover. MACRO Quodlibet Edition

Neon-The luminous matter of Art

The NEON exhibition, which will take place at the MACRO museum of contemporary art in Rome, will display the works of over fifty international artists who have chosen this simple source of artificial light as the “;luminous matter”; in contemporary art. The reason why this gas, capable of creating artificial light, is so attractive remains a mystery, which will be told through an exhibition divided into several thematic blocks including nearly seventy works located inside the Enel room, skilfully involving other spaces of the complex architectonic intervention designed by Odile Decq.

“;Insegne”; portraits the artistic interpretations of the origins of the medium; “;Babele”; contains the most complex, articulated and amazing works;”;Io/Noi”; is where the private and intimate sphere matches the collective one; “;Spazio”; highlights the relationship with the environmental and architectonic space; then there is the poetic expression of “;Missing Poem”; and the abstract compositions of “;Geometria”;; “;Starting Point”; shows the use of neon lights by artists in works that are now considered fundamental. This is the selection of works that will guide the visitor through the exhibition.

Conceived by David Rosenberg and co-organised with Maison Rouge in Paris, where it closed on 20 May 2012, the MACRO exhibition is organised by David Rosenberg and Bartolomeo Pietromarchi, and was born from the partnership between MACRO and Enel (National Energy Authority) to celebrate the company's 50th anniversary.

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue, the first of the new editorial line by MACRO-Quodlibet with the contributions of Bartolomeo Pietromarchi, David Rosenberg, Luis de Miranda, and an interview by Bartolomeo Pietromarchi with Maurizio Nannucci.

Neon prefers living in the darkness. Once it is captured by our glaze, we take only one step forward and we're behind the looking glass, where lights shine deep down into our dreams. […] it is an extremely fragile light. On the wall, a message written backwards is waiting for us. Douglas Gordon says that turning it off is a little bit like dying. But maybe it is only necessary to accept the inevitable and, like Stefan Brüggemann with his testamentary neon, it claims the extinction of light at the death of the artist.
(Unofficial translation taken from “;Dream, Eclipse, Blackout…”;, Antoine de Galbert, “;Le Néon dans l'Art des années 1940 à nos jours)

(, 11 september 2012)